Need help with electric kiln


Well-Known Member
Hey guys,
I got a killer deal on an electric kiln yesterday. it is a dickinson kiln, 120V 18A. it has 2 110 v plugs, it has an analog temp meter with 2 toggle switches.
So it takes about an hour to reach 1000*+.. my fluke IR meter tops out at 1000*F the built in meter is several hundred degrees off.
My questions are
Should this thing heat up faster?
Does anyone have a manual for it? cannot find much info on google search.
Would it work better if I converted to 220V ( i would put the elements in series)
any help is appreciated.

All the coils glow cherry, and the unit itself has a weird smell to it..i joked with my wife that the sellers might have been cooking crack in it.



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Well-Known Member
Do all the elements get hot? Sounds to me like each power cord may be feeding 2 elements- it looks like it has 4 elements in the photo. I don't think hitting it with 220v would be wise.



Well-Known Member
Milt, yes all the elements get red/ orange hot. why does it take so long to heat up?
I am under the assumption that if I rewire the unit and put the 110 lines in series in series the 220V would be fine...


Well-Known Member
Was the picture of the interior taken from the top looking down. What are the inside dimensions? If you can make the 2 elements connect in series outside the oven interior it should be able to handle 220. But, here is what I would do if it were mine. Move legs and turn it on its side so that you could open door down or to the side if hinges work well enough. Then I would rearrange the bricks for a smaller chamber and use Koawool to fill up the gaps between the smaller brick chamber and the case. If you can not make the element grooves line up for running elements this way turn them around and cut new grooves in opposite side of bricks. They should be soft and easy to recut with router, angle grinder or even a hand gouge of some sort. Make the grooves run horizontally in the sides only. Elements on the bottom are asking for problems and any on the roof would be difficult to keep from sagging. Then I would toss the analog and get a pid, a couple SSRs and a thermocouple from and wire that in. using a 50' element of 15 gauge Kanthol A1. ( You can turn your own coils with a piece of all thread a slow moving electric drill. Just put the one end of the all tread in a hole in a piece of anchored metal with 2 nut nuts to keep it in place and use the drill to turn it while you carefully feed the wire onto the threads. This element would be about 16 amps at 220 and produce about 3600 watts. Then you would have a real HT oven.

Kiln ovens tend to be top loaders, have way to big of chamber and therefore way slow. You can deal with the top loader by hanging you blades in the work, but that is a hassle. You really only need a about a 4 or 5 inch kind of square chamber as deep as possible for knives. Making chamber smaller increases efficiency and speed as does the extra insulation on the outside of the bricks. Digital controls are actually quite easy to set up and the only way to go.